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A Flower Quickly Fading - Part 1
August 2, 2009
INTRODUCTION: This passage has been referred to as one of the greatest paradoxical lessons of James' teachings. Often in Scripture we find what seems to be a paradox. Paul refers to being "unknown and yet well known," "as dying, yet we live," sorrowful, yet rejoicing," "poor, yet making many rich," "having nothing, yet possessing all things," "weak, yet strong," and now, "humble yet exalted."
Webster defines a paradox as "a statement that is seemingly contradictory or opposed to common sense and yet is perhaps true." Again, the Scripture tells us that the empty are full, the slave is free, the cursed are blessed, and that death brings life.
G.K. Chesterton gives this magnificent definition of a paradox,
"A paradox is truth standing on its head shouting for attention." In my mind's eye, I see truths lined up like ridiculous people on their heads, feet waving in the air, calling, ‘Hey, look at me!' Up is down! Down is up! Think about it." Paradox is a powerful vehicle for truth because it makes people think.
The paradox of James 1:9-10 calls us to take a serious look at the eternal versus the temporal.
NOTE: Both are encouraged to "boast" in their positions, v.9 "the lowly brother (humble circumstances) glory (boast or rejoice) in his exaltation"; v.10 "the rich (materially well off) glory (boast or rejoice) in his humiliation."
Proverbs 22:2, "The rich and the poor have this in common, the LORD is the maker of them all."
I. LIFE'S PARADOX. 9
A. POVERTY BOASTS IN EXALTATION. 9
"lowly" - a social-economic scale, one who is relatively poor and powerless. He should boast in his "high-position"; his height.
1. WHO WAS THE LOWLY?
Poverty-stricken, Jewish Christians who were poor because of their faith. Many (not all) of these James is speaking of had once been at least somewhat well-off financially, but had their homes and other possessions confiscated ...
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